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Health Sciences

Custom program developed for Health Science leaders

Health Sciences Leadership Series

A program designed to improve the leadership capabilities and communication skills of Health Sciences faculty members.

Visit the Faculty of Health Sciences website to register.

By Mark Kerr, Senior Communications Officer

Health Sciences faculty members spend years training for their roles as educators, researchers and scholars. In many cases, though, there aren'™t the same opportunities to develop specific skills required for their administrative and managerial duties.

The Office of Faculty Development in the Faculty of Health Sciences aims to change that by collaborating with the Human Resources Department on a new management development program. The Health Sciences Leadership Series will launch this September with the first cohort of 30 participants completing six full-day sessions throughout 2014-15.

"This program is modelled after one that myself and a number of other faculty had the opportunity to take several years ago," says Tony Sanfilippo, Associate Dean, Undergraduate Education, Faculty of Health Sciences. "In retrospect, the content has proven to be highly relevant and practical. The Health Sciences Leadership Series will be invaluable to any faculty members charged with administrative responsibilities or curricular development."

Human Resources designed the program specifically for Health Sciences faculty members. The material will cover challenges, situations and conflicts they will encounter in their day-to-day work. Dr. Sanfilippo says participants will gain a deeper understanding of their leadership capabilities, expand their communication skills, enhance their project management skills, and improve their ability to build relationships both within and outside their department.

The Health Sciences Leadership Series will be invaluable to any faculty members charged with administrative responsibilities or curricular development.

Tony Sanfilippo, Associate Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences.

With the Health Sciences Leadership Series, Queen's Human Resources Department continues to expand its leadership development programming. The department has offered a similar program for non-academic managers since 2009.

"œWe are excited to partner with the Faculty of Health Sciences to extend this valuable leadership training to their faculty members," says Al Orth, Associate Vice-Principal, Human Resources. "We are hopeful that the positive outcomes of this series will result in opportunities to work with other faculties on similar programs in the future."

The series has the added benefit of meeting the accreditation criteria for two professional organizations. It is an accredited group learning activity for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. The program also meets the accreditation criteria of the College of Family Physicians of Canada.

Online registration is now open with the first session slated to take place Sept. 16. More information is available on the Faculty of Health Sciences website or by contacting Shannon Hill, Learning Development Specialist, Human Resources, at ext. 74175.
 

Helping newcomers access the healthcare system

[Setareh Ghahari]
Setareh Ghahari, an assistant professor at the School of Rehabilitation Therapy, created ACHIEVE. a program that helps immigrants and refugees learn about how they can get the care that they need. (University Communications) 

As a newcomer to Canada, Setareh Ghahari experienced first-hand some of the challenges faced by newcomers in attempting to access health services.

Despite being a registered occupational therapist with extensive knowledge, experience, and access to resources, she experienced difficulty accessing health-related services. These experiences provided motivation to develop and launch an innovative new program aimed at supporting newcomers to Canada (including groups such as immigrants, refugees, and international students) as they navigate a complex and unfamiliar health system. 

After completing some research, it became clear to Dr. Ghahari that her experience and the barriers she faced in accessing health services were fairly representative. These difficulties are often compounded for immigrants or refugees with significant language barriers, or who are experiencing traumatic personal circumstances. Dr. Ghahari concluded that there was a gap in resources. In other words, there needed to be something in place that could enable newcomers to access the Canadian healthcare system. They need to be educated about what services are available and how they can best be accessed, but newcomers also need help with building networks of support to enable this access to services.

Dr. Ghahari decided that she would develop a program to do this work.

Since coming to Queen’s as an assistant professor at the School of Rehabilitation Therapy in 2014, following the completion of a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of British Columbia, Dr. Ghahari launched Accessing Canadian Health Care for Immigrants – Empowerment, Voice and Enablement (ACHIEVE). ACHIEVE is a seven-week program that brings immigrants and refugees together to learn how they can get the care that they need in their new country. The program features one two-hour session each week, covering different topics, such as screenings and preventions, finding a family doctor, mental health, and prevention.

Some of the aspects of the program that Dr. Ghahari has found most useful for participants are those that teach newcomers how to use English to communicate about illness. This addresses a serious issue, because immigrants and refugees will wait too long to seek out healthcare because they don’t feel comfortable talking about their conditions in English, even if they are otherwise capable speakers. While many of the newcomers in ACHIEVE have very strong English skills, that does not always mean that they know the specific words to convey pain or sickness. Reinforcing language skills around health is especially important, Dr. Ghahari explains, because people need them most in highly stressful situations – exactly when people often have trouble speaking precisely in their first language, let alone their second.

As a critical part of this work, Dr. Ghahari built partnerships with several community organizations in the Kingston area, including the KEYS Job Centre, Loyola School of Adult and Continuing Education, and Immigrant Services Kingston and Area (ISKA). Immigrants and refugees frequently seek out services at these different centres, so they make for a convenient place to hold the classes. No less important, they are also spaces in which newcomers feel welcome and comfortable.

When ACHIEVE first started, Dr. Ghahari taught every session herself, but now the program has grown and she has trained students in the Queen’s occupational therapy program to deliver the sessions. To help ACHIEVE expand beyond Kingston, she is training ESL teachers and healthcare practitioners, and she is developing online modules that can both deliver the program and train new facilitators.

Even when the program is online, Dr. Ghahari will encourage individuals to participate as part of a group, as this is a fundamental aspect of ACHIEVE – to build a community of support for new Canadians. This all feeds into Dr. Ghahari’s ultimate goals for ACHIEVE: to build and empower communities of newcomers, thereby enabling their access to Canadian healthcare systems while also reducing feelings of vulnerability or social isolation.

This article was first published on the Dean’s Blog. It is written by Richard Reznick, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, with support from Erika Beresford-Kroeger, Online Programs Manager in the School of Rehabilitation Therapy, and Andrew Willson, Senior Communications Officer, Faculty of Health Sciences.

A national honour

Three Queen’s faculty members now invested as Officers of the Order of Canada.

  • Kerry Rowe promoted to Officer of the Order of Canada
    Kerry Rowe, a professor in the Department of Civil Engineering and former Vice-Principal (Research), is congratulated by Governor General Julie Payette upon being invested as an Officer of the Order of Canada. (Photo by Sgt. Johanie Maheu, Rideau Hall. © OSGG, 2018)
  • Elizabeth Eisenhauer promoted to Officer of the Order of Canada
    Professor Emerita Elizabeth Eisenhauer, the former director of the Canadian Cancer Trials Group, shakes hands with Governor General Julie Payette after being invested as an Officer of the Order of Canada. (Photo by Sgt. Johanie Maheu, Rideau Hall. © OSGG, 2018)
  • Paul Armstrong promoted to Officer of the Order of Canada
    Governor General Julie Payette congratulates Paul Armstrong, an adjunct professor in the School of Medicine, after he was invested as an Officer of the Order of Canada. (Photo by Sgt. Johanie Maheu, Rideau Hall. © OSGG, 2018)

The Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada, has recognized three Queen’s faculty members for their outstanding contributions to the country. Announced as recipients in January 2018, both Elizabeth Eisenhauer and R. Kerry Rowe were invested as Officers of the Order of Canada this month in Ottawa, while Paul Armstrong received the honour in September.

The Order of Canada is one of the country’s highest civilian honours and it recognizes those who make extraordinary contributions to the nation as exemplified in its motto Desiderantes Meliorem Patriam – “They desire a better country.” Since its creation in 1967, about 7,000 people have received the honour.

According to the Office of the Governor General, the Queen’s faculty members are recipients for the following reasons:

Elizabeth Ann Eisenhauer, O.C. (MD’76, Professor Emerita, Department of Oncology, former Director, NCIC Clinical Trials Group Investigational New Drug Program)

“Elizabeth Eisenhauer is an international leader in clinical cancer research. Professor emerita at Queen’s University and former director of the NCIC Clinical Trials Group Investigational New Drug Program, she has played an influential role in helping shape cancer treatment through key advancements in clinical trials. Notably, she led the design of criteria to evaluate the response of tumours to therapy, and evaluated numerous new drugs now used routinely in cancer treatment. Renowned for her experience and expertise, she has served on numerous international professional and institutional committees, benefiting oncology research worldwide.”

R. Kerry Rowe, O.C. (Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, former Vice-Principal (Research))

“Kerry Rowe is a passionate leader in the safeguarding of Canada’s natural resources. A professor at Queen’s University and a pioneer in geoenvironmental engineering, he is responsible for many of the designs, techniques and materials now used to manage waste disposal in the developed world. His seminal research on landfills has led to critical advancements in protecting land and water from contamination. Renowned for his dedication to the advancement of this field, he has served at the helm of numerous professional societies and institutional committees.”

Paul W. Armstrong, O.C. (Arts’63, MD’66 – Adjunct Professor, Queen’s School of Medicine)

“Paul Armstrong is a pioneering investigative and clinical cardiologist whose work in acute cardiac care has had global reach. A professor at the University of Alberta, he has conducted transformative research in the treatment of acute heart attacks and was instrumental in implementing this pre-hospital treatment in Alberta’s ambulances, which is credited with increasing patient survival rates. He is also recognized for his leadership in health care institutions, including as founding president of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences and as director of the Canadian VIGOUR Centre, an international enterprise that conducts global-scale clinical trials in cardiovascular medicine.

For more information on other Order of Canada recipients with Queen’s connections see the Queen's Gazette and the Governor General's website.   

A seniors’ oasis

Unique model of active aging in place expands from Kingston to other parts of Ontario.

[Oasis Wii bowling]
As part of the Oasis Senior Supporting Living program Pearl Larson tries her hand at Wii-bowling, while Norm Fournier and Evelyn Farrar look on. (Supplied Photo)

With an aging population, it is critical that seniors living in the community receive the support they need. It is important that new effective and cost-efficient strategies are developed to help seniors live where they want to live and prosper in their chosen communities.

The Oasis Senior Supporting Living program, is a unique model of active aging-in-place originally developed with a group of seniors living in an apartment building in Kingston. While Oasis has been cherished for many years by members and the many people who work with them, its value and potential has recently been recognized outside the city.

Professors Catherine Donnelly and Vince DePaul from the School of Rehabilitation Therapy at Queen’s University are leading a research project to expand and evaluate the Oasis Model into seven new communities in four cities in Ontario. In this project, they have partnered with the seniors at the original Oasis program at Bowling Green II apartment in Kingston, the Oasis Board of Directors, and researchers at Western University in London, and McMaster University in Hamilton.  

 “The Oasis model is a unique model that’s seniors driven,” says Dr. Donnelly. “Isolation can be a major issue for seniors who are living alone and who may have challenges getting out and about. With Oasis, there is a support system naturally built in to where they are living. Members can connect with others in their familiar space.”

Each Oasis building features an Oasis members committee, a community board of directors and onsite program coordinator. Oasis members drive the program and direct the programming, including communal meals, social activities, and exercise and activity programs. The onsite program coordinator supports all aspects of the program delivery, working with the members. The community board offers oversight and governance support and has been instrumental in supporting Oasis.

All programming occurs in the apartment building where seniors are living ensuring that Oasis brings the services they need to them. Programming includes everything from a Wii bowling league, exercise classes, creative writing workshops, and daily coffee times. Three days a week, catered meals are served to Oasis members in a communal dining space.

“This was a very grassroots, seniors-driven, community-supported idea. The original Oasis building opened about 10 years ago in the Bowling Green II apartment owned and operated by Homestead Landholdings,” says Dr. DePaul. “Homestead has been very supportive from the beginning, including providing space for the program to operate. They continue to be very supportive as we move forward to expand the program to other buildings. We have also received support from another Kingston landlord, CJM, to open an Oasis program in one of their buildings here in the city. It’s these partnerships that are critical.”

The project has been funded through three separate grants from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care, the Baycrest Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovations, and the Ontario Ministry of Seniors and Accessibility. The funds from each grant are being used to support the expansion and evaluation of Oasis into different buildings. The project team includes colleagues from Western University, McMaster University and Queen’s. Work began on this project this past summer and will continue for the next 18 months. Kingston is now preparing to open its second facility.

This new funding will allow this multidisciplinary and multi-community project with new programs being put in place, and the model evaluation with an eye on refining the process and, potentially, bringing new aging in place communities on board.

For more information, visit the website.

The Conversation: How the opioid crisis is disrupting hospital care

Canadian hospitals are ill-equipped to deal with the inpatient opioid crisis. Lack of specialist addictions care puts patients and staff at risk.

New York Ambulances
Few medical schools offer training in addictions medicine and most doctors feel they lack the specialist expertise to deal with the inpatient opioid crisis. (Photo by Benjamin Voros/Unsplash)

 

“… there is always soma, delicious soma, half a gramme for a half-holiday, a gramme for a week-end, two grammes for a trip to the gorgeous East, three for a dark eternity on the moon…”

In Aldous Huxley’s 1932 novel Brave New World, citizens are trapped in a chemically induced state of docility and compliance. Their fictional drug of choice: Soma. Throughout North America and in some parts of Europe today, people are rendered into a diminished state (and killed) by an all too real version of soma: Opioids.

The misuse of these powerful narcotics is leading to an epidemic of addiction and death. As doctors and researchers, we want to highlight an often overlooked face of this epidemic — its emergence as a major disruptor within Canada’s hospitals.

Images of paramedics resuscitating people who have overdosed on the street are common within the news media. But the face of the inpatient opioid crisis is equally sinister and must be addressed simultaneously.

Some hospitalized patients are engaging in extreme behaviours — violence toward staff and other patients, theft and other antisocial actions — that disrupt the care of others and put patients and staff at risk.

We are initiating a program at the Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) called START (The Substance Treatment and Rehabilitation Team). Programs like START can perhaps better handle the inpatient crisis using a dedicated multidisciplinary team of practitioners.

Specialists from addictions, family, emergency and internal medicine, along with those from psychiatry, anaesthesia, social work, public health and nursing, work together — to competently manage care of patients with substance abuse disorders and coordinate care with outpatient services.

A growing epidemic

Let’s start with one person’s story. Crystal was a 29-year old patient who was frequently admitted to hospital due to her diabetes and its complications (kidney failure, blindness). She was prescribed opiates to relieve her pain but over time became dependent on them.

Crystal required dialysis and had multiple bouts of sepsis, a serious full-body infection. Her pain was poorly controlled and we believe she lost hope. She was found dead in her hospital bed after self-administering a lethal dose of narcotics.

Unfortunately this story is not unique or even unusual anymore. Opioids are responsible for one in six deaths of young adults aged 24 to 35 in Ontario. Almost 4,000 people died in Canada in 2017 from opioid-related causes. And in the United States, accidental overdoses now claim more lives than car crashes.

Despite public attention, this number continues to grow. The problem is prevalent across the country. Rural and mid-size communities are affected as well as big cities like Vancouver and Toronto.

Patients create a street supply

The causes are complex but doctors over-prescribing opiates and the emergence of new potent forms of “street” opiates have contributed to the crisis. Drugs laced with the potent opioid fentanyl, smuggled from China, often cause sudden death due to a complete cessation of breathing.

Over-prescription of opioids by doctors fuels addictions in people that drives them to use these dangerous street drugs. Diversion of prescription drugs and theft or misappropriation of drugs from pharmacies creates a supply of narcotics on the street. More than half a million prescription drugs, mostly opioids, are stolen from pharmacies each year.

Within hospitals, patients addicted to substances — notably but not exclusively opioids — are often involved in this drug theft and diversion. Diversion means they move their own prescription narcotics prescribed to the street, often selling them right on hospital grounds.

It’s estimated that one third of all opioids on Canada’s streets result from diversion of prescription drugs. Greed allows these diverted drugs to be laced with fentanyl (which is cheap and powerful) by criminals, and people are dying.

While many patients who come to hospital are addicted, health-care providers feel inadequately trained to deal with them. Indeed the medical profession has been slow to recognize that there is a direct relationship between our rate of opioid prescriptions and mortality, even after adjusting for predictors of adverse outcomes, such as age.

The overuse of prescription narcotics is not accidental but reflects cynical marketing by certain pharmaceutical companies, notably Purdue Pharma, that claimed potent opioids like oxycontin were “less addictive.”

Canadian doctors have been slow to recognize this sinister side of pharmaceutical hype.

Addictions specialists are needed

Treating patients’ complications from their addictions, while neglecting the root of their problems, is frustrating for clinicians and often feels futile.

At the Kingston Health Sciences Centre, we address this issue by working with community partners such as Street Health to offer education and support to staff so they can better understand patients who suffer from addictions. KHSC is also looking at ways to provide additional funding and a more coordinated approach to address addictions.

The START team recently surveyed our hospital’s doctors and health-care professionals. For one month they collected reports of inpatient encounters where a substance-use problem was suspected (124 unique patients).

In 87 per cent of the reported cases, the physician felt managing the addiction was not within their scope of practice. In 98 per cent of cases, they felt the patient would benefit from an addictions specialist consultation.

Further complicating matters is that few medical schools offer training in addictions medicine, leaving a significant unmet societal need.

START’s goals include facilitating transitions of care from inpatient to outpatient, connecting patients with community treatment programs, providing specialized and consistent inpatient care plans including pain and withdrawal management, methadone or buprenorphine/naloxone treatment when appropriate and educating hospital staff and medical students.

These are all missing pieces from our current response to the unfolding crisis.

What has happened since Crystal’s death? At least two more patients have died from accidental overdoses in our hospital.The Conversation

_________________________________

This column was written by Stephen Archer, Professor, Head of Department of Medicine; Chris Smith, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division Head, General Internal Medicine, and Raistlin Majere, General Internal Medicine Physician, Queen's University

This article was originally published on The Conversation, which provides news and views from the academic and research community. Queen’s University is a founding partner. Queen's researchers, faculty, and students are regular contributors.

The Conversation is seeking new academic contributors. Researchers wishing to write articles should contact Melinda Knox, Associate Director, Research Profile and Initiatives, at knoxm@queensu.ca

Welcoming Indigenous staff voices

Queen’s has added new staff positions to provide greater support to Indigenous students and those working with Indigenous communities.

In recent years, Queen’s has been devoting additional resources to supporting and recruiting Indigenous students at Queen’s. This effort has only increased since the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission task force report, which featured multiple recommendations (6, 9, and 14) centred on hiring more Indigenous staff and offering greater support to students.

The Gazette sat down with some new members of the Queen’s community (or, in some cases, familiar faces in new places). Please note this is not a complete listing of Indigenous staff members of the Queen’s community, and many positions supporting Indigenous students continue to be posted on a regular basis.

Office of Indigenous Initiatives

Haley Cochrane, Coordinator

[Queen's University Office of Indigenous Initiatives Haley Cochrane]
Haley Cochrane. (University Relations)

Job number one for Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill) when she was appointed Director, Indigenous Initiatives in 2017 was to determine which supports she needed to fulfill her mandate.

Haley Cochrane was the first person she hired, in May 2018. Prior to joining Queen’s, Ms. Cochrane worked at another Ontario university in an Indigenous recruiting capacity.

“When I saw this position, it was appealing because of all the Indigenous work happening at Queen’s and the momentum that has already been built,” she says. “It has been a pleasant surprise to see just how much is going on here, and how many allies there are. That kind of commitment makes the work more fulfilling.”

Since that time, Ms. Cochrane has been instrumental in the recruitment of a Cultural Advisor and a Knowledge Keeper to the Office of Indigenous Initiatives, and spearheading many other events and initiatives such as the recent Indigenous Knowledge Symposium.

Ms. Cochrane was raised in Whitby and she is of mixed ancestry. Her father is from England, and her mother is Algonquin from Pikawakanagan First Nation (Golden Lake), in the Ottawa Valley area. Haley is a member of the Bear clan. 

Te howis kwûnt (Allen Doxtator), Cultural Advisor

[Queen's University Office of Indigenous Initiatives Allen Doxtator]
Te howis kwûnt (Allen Doxtator). (University Relations)

Te howis kwûnt (Allen Doxtator) sees his role as focused on education, and bridging the divide between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples.

“There has to be a lot more opportunities for Indigenous Peoples to teach at schools so that people are more aware of the truth of what has happened to Indigenous Peoples in Canada,” he says. “We are not trying to make people be oppressed by what we’re saying – we are trying to make people understand why we are oppressed. We need to be able to pull ourselves together – both Indigenous Peoples and settlers – and stand up for each other, and support each other.”

To that end, Mr. Doxtator is encouraging Indigenous Peoples on campus to share their stories and ensure their stories are presented in their own words. He also encourages non-Indigenous People to speak up and take action to support Indigenous Peoples, rather than dwell in the past or take pity.

“I am a strong believer in change and being able to make ourselves change, especially as Indigenous People,” he says. “We can make ourselves not feel that oppression of colonization, and it can make us grow into a better and stronger people and find our way back to our way of life.”

Mr. Doxtator originates from Oneida First Nation of the Thames near London, Ontario, and is a member of the Bear Clan. He brings more than 45 years of experience as a social worker and in related fields to his role at Queen’s.

Grey Thunderbird (Tim Yearington), Knowledge Keeper

[Queen's University Office of Indigenous Initiatives Grey Thunderbird Tim Yearington]
Grey Thunderbird (Tim Yearington). (University Relations)

“It’s about helping people learn and remember,” Grey Thunderbird (Tim Yearington) says of his new role. “It’s about helping people learn and remember the traditional ways, which are really about being better people.”

In his first four weeks, Mr. Yearington has had many opportunities to do this. He has helped host education sessions with staff, advisory sessions with PhD candidates conducting Indigenous research, and participated in recent Indigenous events on campus such as the Knowledge Symposium and Research Workshop. But the process is not always so formal.

“Sometimes we just meet people out and about and have conversations with them about what they’re going through, what they’re struggling with, or what they want to learn,” he says. “In the academic environment, which is about head space and intellectual thinking, we try to balance that out by helping people understand how to learn through their hearts, their being, and their spirit. We also help people break down their fears and barriers so they can learn about traditional Indigenous knowledge and let go of their preconceived notions.”

Mr. Yearington is Algonquin-Métis from Kitchizibi (the Ottawa Valley). He previously worked for Correctional Services Canada in Kingston.

Faculty Resources

[Queen's University Faculty of Health Sciences Cortney Clark]
Cortney Clark. (University Relations)

Cortney Clark, Indigenous Access and Recruitment Coordinator, Faculty of Health Sciences

She began in a new position focused on recruitment, student support, and academic and cultural programming at Queen’s Faculty of Health Sciences in August. This new role was created following recommendations from the faculty's Truth and Reconciliation Task Force and from multiple student requests – in fact, when Ms. Clark was hired, she was given a large stack of ideas and offers of support from students.

“There are so many exciting things going on within our faculty – both Indigenous and non-Indigenous initiatives – to address gaps within higher education,” Ms. Clark says. “For instance, later this month we are hosting the National Indigenous Health Sciences Circle to demonstrate our allyship and leadership on this important topic, aimed at driving greater representation of Indigenous Peoples among the health professions in Canada.”

She works closely with other Indigenous student support advisors on campus, ensuring a wide breadth of coverage for Queen’s and Queen’s programs during recruitment activities, and ultimately for overall student recruitment, support, and success through their time here at Queen's.

Ms. Clark is of Mohawk descent and is a member of the Wahta Mohawk Territory in Northern Ontario.

Ann Deer, Indigenous Recruitment and Support Coordinator, Faculty of Law and Smith School of Business

[Queen's University Ann Deer Goodes Hall Smith School of Business Faculty of Law Chipewyan McCrimmon Amanda Kerek]
Ann Deer (centre) speaks with master's student Chipewyan McCrimmon (left) and Smith School of Business staff member Amanda Kerek (right). (University Relations)

“It has to be a team effort in order to be successful,” Ann Deer says, as she reflects on the key lesson she has learned in the two years since she was hired at Queen’s.

Her role has evolved in that time – what started as a recruitment-focused position for three separate faculties has now become centred on recruitment and Indigenous student support for Smith School of Business and the Faculty of Law.

That teamwork approach extends not only across faculty lines – it also extends to students. A pair of Indigenous students - Chipewyan McCrimmon, a student registered in the Master of Management Innovation and Entrepreneurship program, and Lauren Winkler, second-year Juris Doctor degree student – a planning a new conference focused on economic reconciliation to help create greater community resilience and economic prosperity for Indigenous Peoples. Ms. Deer is supporting this initiative with the coordination of administrative assistance from the Faculty of Law and School of Business.

“I am really excited about the support I have received for new ideas to engage the students,” she says, referring to both the conference and an annual start-of-term gathering she organizes for Indigenous students.

Another way she has engaged both students and community is through a series of coffee chats that she launched in the Faculty of Law. This initiative has resulted in a relationship with Akwesasne Mohawk Territory where students make an annual trip to learn about its unique Indigenous court system.

She notes Queen’s is ahead of the curve in its Indigenous recruitment and outreach – when she encounters other school recruiters, many have one person for the entire institution. Mr. McCrimmon, who is Dene and originates in the Northwest Territories, noted the fact that Smith had its own Indigenous support person was a key reason he decided to enroll.

Ms. Deer is Mohawk of the Wolf Clan, and hails from Akwesasne Mohawk Territory.

Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre

Adamina Partridge, Indigenous Events & Programs Coordinator

Adamina Partridge’s first couple of months at Four Directions have been busy. 

In addition to the re-opening of Four Directions following its expansion and renovation, Ms. Partridge has been organizing a number of cultural events including an exercise event based on Indigenous powwow dancing and a traditional Anishnaabe hand drum-making workshop.

Ms. Partridge is Inuk from Kuujjuaq, Québec, though she has lived among various Indigenous communities growing up. She hopes to bring some of her culture into the programming mix at Four Directions.  

“We are hoping to have an Inuit feast coming up if we can get some northern foods in, such as caribou, and possibly some Inuit events next semester,” she says.  

Ms. Partridge also notes she has had the opportunity to share her culture with students, and learn from them. One Inuit student at Queen’s has expanded her knowledge on traditional sewing projects, for example. 

[Queen's University Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre Keira LaPierreAdamina Partridge]
Keira LaPierre (left) and Adamina Partridge (right) of Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre. (University Relations)

Keira LaPierre, Indigenous Recruitment Representative

While recruiters such as Ms. Clark and Ms. Deer focus on specific programs and faculties, Keira LaPierre helps to paint the overall picture of Queen’s Indigenous supports for prospective students.

Ms. LaPierre’s role connects her most frequently with high school students considering Queen’s. Her expertise mainly lies in the Indigenous admission policy at Queen’s, and in explaining the university’s Indigenous support resources including Four Directions.

“Indigenous students want to know about services we provide and ensure they won’t be disconnected from community during their time here, especially if they have strong ties and may be leaving home for the first time,” she says. “Having a centre like Four Directions is very beneficial to these students, and we want to ensure they access the people and spaces we have here.”

Ms. LaPierre is not on campus much throughout the fall, as she is mainly on the road giving presentations and speaking with prospective students and their families. Her work takes her as far as James Bay in Northern Ontario, though most of her time is spent in eastern and southern Ontario.

Ms. LaPierre is Algonquin, with her father hailing from the Golden Lake area near Pembroke.

Other Indigenous staff and faculty at Queen's
Wednesday, Apr. 11, 2018 - Inclusion in the classroom (Dr. Ian Fanning)
Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017 - New support for Indigenous students near and far
Wednesday, Jun. 21, 2017 - Two 2017 Queen's National Scholars announced

A dangerous trend

Research from Queen’s University shows major traumatic injury increases risk of mental health disorders, including suicide.

A new study headed by Queen’s University researcher Dr. Chris Evans has revealed people who experience major injuries requiring hospitalization, such as those caused by car crashes and falls, have a much higher risk of being admitted to hospital for mental health disorders. Results showed that this group is at a higher risk of suicide as well.

The study was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), and supported by data from the Institute of Clinical Evaluative Sciences Queen’s.

“Major trauma was associated with a 40 per cent increased rate of hospital admission for one or more mental health diagnoses,” says Dr. Evans (Emergency Medicine). “The most common mental health diagnoses were alcohol abuse, other drug abuse disorders, and major depressive disorders.”

According to Dr. Evans, there is a lack of evidence on the link between major injury and later mental health issues. This large study, based on more than 19,000 patients in Ontario, contributes to the literature on this important topic. The majority of participants who had experienced major trauma were male (70.7 per cent), lived in urban areas (82.6 per cent), and had accidental injuries (89 per cent) rather than intentional.

These factors along with low socioeconomic status, location, and surgical treatment for these injuries were associated with higher admissions for mental health issues. Researchers found that children and youth under 18 years of age had the largest increase in admissions for one or more mental health issues after injury. Suicide is also higher in people with major physical injury, with 70 suicides per 100,000 patients per year.

“Patients who suffer major injuries are at significant risk of increased admissions to hospital with mental health diagnoses in the years after their injury and also have high suicide rates during this period,” says Dr. Evans.

The authors urge that mental health supports should be offered to all trauma victims, with special attention to high-risk patients, including children and youth.

Queen’s University researcher Dallas Seitz (Psychiatry) was a co-author on the paper.

For more information visit the CMAJ website.

Research on the brain

Hand-held scanner shows promise for better approaches to brain bleeds in the elderly.

For frail and elderly individuals, brain bleeds caused by falling are a major health risk. For some, there’s also a risk of misdiagnosis, because the symptoms of a brain bleed (most commonly a subdural hematoma) can be mistaken for age-related conditions such as dementia, neurological disease or medication effects.

Currently, primary care doctors diagnose this traumatic head injury with a CT scan. But not all hospitals have this equipment, so patients must travel to larger health centres, making diagnosis, treatment, and followup difficult, expensive, and time-consuming. For elderly patients with dementia, this process can also be disorienting and frightening.

Dr. D.J. Cook
Queen's University's DJ Cook is testing a new tool that can detect brain bleeds. Photo credit - Kingston Health Sciences Centre

“Imagine if your family doctor or local clinic had a simple, fast way to identify and monitor this kind of injury,” says D.J. Cook, an assistant professor in the Department of Surgery at Queen’s University and a neurosurgeon at Kingston Health Sciences Centre.

Now Dr. Cook and a team at KHSC, Providence Care, and Queen’s University are working to make that happen. They’ve partnered with ArcheOptix, a Kingston medical device company, to test the capabilities of a hand-held scanner to rapidly detect bleeding in the brain.

“It’s a very simple, non-invasive imaging tool. You pass it over the head, and it can instantly detect brain bleeds within three centimeters of the surface,” says Dr. Cook.

The portable, radiation-free device helps doctors more quickly detect the presence and severity of bleeding, ensuring patients receive care more quickly. For some patients, it could also reduce the need for repeated CT imaging (and radiation exposure), which currently is a routine part of follow-up care, Dr. Cook says.

Approved for use by Health Canada earlier this year, the NIRD™ Hematoma Detector uses near-infrared spectroscopy to locate and image brain bleeds, and is currently being used in trials in the U.S.

“Our region has a disproportionate number of patients who are elderly and frail or living with other chronic conditions, I thought it would be relevant to conduct this research with the device right here in Kingston,” Dr. Cook says.

With funding from the Ontario Centres of Excellence and the Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation, Dr. Cook is now leading two studies into brain bleeds in this population.

In the first study, titled Better Care Closer to Home, doctors will use the device to track two groups of elderly patients.

“Some have had surgery and require post-operative follow up, and others with smaller bleeds are simply being observed to see whether bleeding will increase or dissipate. Right now there is no way to do this except by CT scan,” Dr. Cook says.

“Our neurosurgery catchment lies over an enormous geographical area, encompassing 14 emergency rooms, of which only six have 24-hour access to CT, so patients who need more specialized care have to travel to larger centres like Kingston or Belleville,” Dr. Cook says. “We want to see if this non-invasive test can be used by primary care physicians to track patients’ progress after a bleed, ultimately avoiding extra trips for patients.”

The study will target 50 patients and will deploy an imager in each of Kingston Health Sciences Centre and Providence Care, with three units floating among patient care offices in areas with follow-up imaging. 

The second study, funded by the Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation, and in collaboration with Dallas Seitz, Associate Professor and clinician scientist in Geriatric Psychiatry at Queen’s and Providence Care, will screen 30 patients with early and late-stage dementia, with a previous head injury from falling.  

“Over the last five years I’ve seen patients who were thought to have dementia but we later found out through a CT scan or a neurological deficit that they had chronic bleeds, and when we treat the bleed, some of these patients get better,” Dr. Cook says.

His vision is to have family doctors and health care providers in remote areas trained to use the tool, enabling them to do the imaging right in the office, and referring those with positive results for CT scans.

“It leads to more timely care, and gives patients the benefit of follow-up care closer to home,” he says.

The studies are underway and expected to be completed in the spring and summer of 2019.

Successful trifecta

Three Queen’s University academics earn honours for their work.

A trio of Queen's researchers are being recognized for their contributions following the recent announcements that Jacalyn Duffin will be inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, J. Curtis Nickel received the Mostafa Elhilali Award from the Societé Internationale d’Urologie, and Anne Ellis earned the F. Estelle Simons research award from the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

“Having three of our leading researchers earn some of the highest awards in their respective fields is a testament to the level of research excellence at this institution,” says Richard Reznick, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences. “Seeing accomplishments like this from our colleagues makes us all stand a bit taller. I offer my congratulations to Drs. Duffin, Nickel and Ellis for their successes.”

Dr. Duffin’s research has addressed a wide array of topics, sources, places, and time periods: diagnostic technology, rural practice, drug development, disease concepts, health policy, and religious healing, including an exploration of medical miracles in the Vatican archives.

Dr. Curtis Nickel

A haematologist, historian and former Hannah Professor of the History of Medicine at Queen’s, Dr. Duffin has assured that thousands of physicians and nurses appreciate the broader cultural and social contexts of their professions arguing that the humanities, notably history, form part of balanced, effective training. Her textbook, History of Medicine: A Scandalously Short Introduction is read by students and lay audiences throughout the world. It presents encapsulated histories of medical specialties, featuring the cultural and social factors involved in their development.

“People who win awards have very kind and generous friends,” says Dr. Duffin. “It’s a huge honour for me personally, but it is much more significant for its implicit recognition of the importance of history in clinical practice and social policy.”

Dr. Nickel’s research covers inflammatory, benign prostate (BPH), and pain diseases (prostatitis and interstitial cystitis) of the urinary tract.  He has over 550 publications, is on the editorial board of eight urology journals (current editor of Urology Update Series), has been invited to present in over 35 universities in the United States and Canada and at meetings or events in over 45 countries worldwide. He presently holds the title of Tier One Canada Research Chair in Urology.

“Most of the credit for the impact we have made in the field of chronic urologic pain was because of the commitment and involvement of the thousands of men and women suffering chronic urogenital pain who agreed to participate in our many studies and clinical trials, says Dr. Nickel (Urology). “They taught us how to improve our treatment and, in my opinion, are the real heroes in our ongoing commitment to improve the life of patients diagnosed with this previously neglected chronic medical problem."

Dr. Anne Ellis

Dr. Ellis is the chair of the Division of Allergy and Immunology in the Department of Medicine and the director of the Environmental Exposure Unit (EEU). The EEU is a unique research facility located in the Kingston Health Sciences Centre that is capable of studying 150 patients at one time. Her main area of research is allergic rhinitis as well as umbilical cord blood predictors of future allergies in newborns.

Dr. Ellis also runs regular Allergy & Immunology Clinics out of the Hotel Dieu Hospital, providing clinical assessments of allergic rhinitis (hayfever), asthma, food allergy & anaphylaxis, drug allergy, stinging insect allergy, urticaria (hives) and eczema in addition to immunodeficiency and other immune disorders.

"It is truly an honour to have been given this award,” says Dr. Ellis. “Dr. Simons is well known as one of the top researchers in the field of allergy and immunology, particularly with regards to anaphylaxis and its management, as well as antihistamine research. It was wonderful to be recognized for my own contributions to the allergy field, with my personal research interests and publications reflecting the pathophysiology and advancements in treatments for allergic rhinitis, the developmental origins of allergy and asthma in early childhood, and other areas of research include anaphylaxis and peanut allergy.”

Queen’s receives $4M for new Lyme disease research network

New network will generate knowledge for prevention, control, diagnosis, and treatment of the tick-borne illness.

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Government of Canada announced a $4 million investment in a new multidisciplinary research network that will bring together scientists, clinicians, and patients to address gaps in the approach to prevention, control, diagnosis, and treatment of Lyme disease, on Monday, Oct. 15.

Many Queen’s researchers will be part of the research network, including:
Adrian Baranchuk (Biomedical & Molecular Sciences)
Rob Brison (Emergency Medicine)
Robert Calautti (Biology)
DongMei Chen (Geography & Planning)
Troy Day (Mathematics & Statistics)
Rylan Egan (Health Sciences)
Gerald Evans (Medicine, Biomedical & Molecular Sciences, Pathology & Molecular Medicine)
Katrina Gee (Biomedical & Molecular Sciences)
Michael Green (Family Medicine)
Ana Johnson (Cancer Research Institute, Public Health Sciences)
Kirk Leifso (Pediatrics)
Anna Majury (Biomedical & Molecular Sciences, Environmental Studies)
Bob McGraw (Emergency Medicine)
David Messenger (Emergency Medicine)
Lois Shepherd (Cancer Research Institute)
Prameet Sheth (Pathology & Molecular Medicine)
Marco Sivilotti (Emergency Medicine, Biomedical & Molecular Sciences)
Shakeel Virk (Pathology & Molecular Medicine)
Evan Wilson (Medicine)

Led by Queen’s University Professor of Emergency and Family Medicine Kieran Moore, the Pan-Canadian Research Network on Lyme Disease’s multi-pronged mandate seeks to make a national impact on health outcomes, practice, programs and policy related to Lyme disease. Lyme disease is becoming more prevalent each year, due in part to climate change.

Dr. Kieran Moore, Queen's University
Kieran Moore, Queen's University

“We would like to thank the Government of Canada and CIHR for the opportunity to advance the science of Lyme disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment,” says Dr. Moore, who is also the Medical Officer of Health with Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington Public Health. “Our network, based at Queen’s University, will collaborate with patients and our many academic and government partners to protect the health of Canadians from coast to coast. We will provide the national capacity to have a coordinated, integrated, and multidisciplinary response to the emerging infectious disease threat of Lyme disease.”

Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by a bacteria transmitted to people through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Symptoms of Lyme disease can vary from person to person, but most people experience an expanding red rash at the sight of the tick bite, fever, chills and flu-like symptoms while others may have more serious symptoms, such as heart, joint and neurological disorders.

“With the incidence of Lyme disease on the rise in Canada, Dr. Moore and his team will be uniquely positioned to respond to the research gaps related to Lyme disease in Canada,” says Kimberly Woodhouse, Interim Vice-Principal (Research) at Queen’s.

This federal government’s investment, through CIHR, in partnership with the Public Health Agency of Canada, is part of a concerted commitment to support the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. The Pan-Canadian Research Network on Lyme Disease also builds on Canada’s ongoing efforts to tackle the illness through surveillance, research, sharing of best practices, laboratory diagnostics and testing, prevention education, and public education and awareness.

“The Government of Canada is proud to support a research network that focuses on collaboration between Lyme disease stakeholders from across the country to improve patient outcomes and access to care,” says Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health for the Government of Canada. “We understand that Lyme disease is emerging in many parts of the country, due in part to climate change, and we are committed to minimizing the public health risk associated with this disease.”

Learn more about Canada’s federal framework for Lyme disease and the CIHR.

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